Scaling up philanthropy in China

Legislation to make philanthropy easier has been gathering pace recently in China.  In 2008, the tax deduction rules for individuals and enterprises were adjusted so that both Chinese and foreign enterprises are on an equal footing. 

In August 2009, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) delivered to the State Council draft legislation regulating charitable non-profit organizations, fundraising activities, volunteer services, social responsibility, and support and grantmaking for NGOs. The process of creating a public fundraising act has also been initiated; this will set rules for fundraising, and for the disposition and management of funds raised from the public, including provisions on transparency and accountability.  

Meanwhile, China’s philanthropic sector is consolidating itself, and the number of NGOs continues to grow.  In late 2009, there were already 1,837 foundations in China.  A declaration was made at the China Non-Public Foundation Forum last July on publicizing information disclosure and improving the trustworthiness of non-public foundations.  Aided by the growing value of the country’s philanthropic sector, donation mechanisms have become more diversified.  In a period of global financial crisis and reduced private sector contributions, this has fuelled a new phase of development for the Chinese non-profit sector.

Jet LiTransparency and disclosure
China is also making efforts to become a positive and responsible force in the global arena.  In 2009, 582 social responsibility reports were published, more than three times the number of those published in 2008 (169).  Finally, Wise Philanthropy, an initiative championed by the MCA, has helped to speed up the application of a number of information technology innovations to the Chinese philanthropic sector.  These provide up-to-date, interactive information exchange, greater involvement between donor and recipient organization and lower operational costs.

For more information
Contact Amy Zhou at

Photo: Jet Li, actor and founder of the One Foundation, dedicated to promoting philanthropy in China, speaks at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China on 28 September 2008. Credit: World Economic Forum

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